1. The most important thing about buying a new bike is to make sure it fits. The only way you'll know if the bike is right for you is to size up the bike and make sure that the bike's geometry matches your body's geometry. Ask questions and do some research.
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2. If possible, try to find a shop that will let you demo the bike on real dirt. Five minutes in a parking lot won't cut it. You wouldn't buy a car without a real world test drive, and a bike should be no different.
3. Don't belive the hype. Just because your favorite rider or best friend rides a certain bike, that doesn't mean that's the best one for you. Have an open mind and be realistic about your needs and ability.
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  1. #1
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    First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Wasn't as bad as I thought, I just built it up to be more. I only went down twice, both times at slow speeds. I did find myself riding smarter, picking my lines better, because I know that I can't bail as quickly like when I was on flats. I felt like I was able to pedal with more power and efficiency.

    One thing I did notice, my legs were on fire like no other time. I guess when I was on flats, I would adjust my feet to be more comfortable. Now, they are planted in the same spot, using the same muscles all of the time. This is the only thing I can think of, because it was noticeable.

    All in all, I like the clipless pedals.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

    -Chris Kyle

  2. #2
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    What kind of pedals? Maybe you need more float?
    I used to ride on Shimano SPD's, I liked them; till
    my shoes wore out.

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  3. #3
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    Do you happen to have any experience riding road bikes with clipless? I am just trying to get a comparison for my own transition to clipless on my 29er.

  4. #4
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by 1nterceptor View Post
    What kind of pedals? Maybe you need more float?
    I used to ride on Shimano SPD's, I liked them; till
    my shoes wore out.
    They are Shimano XT PD-M785 Trail SPD Pedals.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

    -Chris Kyle

  5. #5
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by Entouragegeek78 View Post
    Do you happen to have any experience riding road bikes with clipless? I am just trying to get a comparison for my own transition to clipless on my 29er.
    No experience at all.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert guy View Post
    One thing I did notice, my legs were on fire like no other time. I guess when I was on flats, I would adjust my feet to be more comfortable. Now, they are planted in the same spot, using the same muscles all of the time. This is the only thing I can think of, because it was noticeable.
    How did you decide where to put the cleats on your shoes? You may not have them in the right spot.
    NTFTC

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert guy View Post
    . I did find myself riding smarter, picking my lines better, because I know that I can't bail as quickly like when I was on flats.
    You may want to consider the SM 56 (I think that's the part number) multi release cleats. I use them. They release in five different directions. Great for panic situations. Release when you need it, stay on when don't.

  8. #8
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
    You may want to consider the SM 56 (I think that's the part number) multi release cleats. I use them. They release in five different directions. Great for panic situations. Release when you need it, stay on when don't.
    That's what I'm using for that reason. Thanks.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  9. #9
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    The best thing I did was get those, I was falling over often, the multi release resolved that quickly!

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
    You may want to consider the SM 56 (I think that's the part number) multi release cleats. I use them. They release in five different directions. Great for panic situations. Release when you need it, stay on when don't.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by desert guy View Post
    ...I only went down twice, both times at slow speeds...

    One thing I did notice, my legs were on fire like no other time. I guess when I was on flats, I would adjust my feet to be more comfortable. Now, they are planted in the same spot, using the same muscles all of the time. ...

    All in all, I like the clipless pedals.
    i am new to the sport, since early this year.

    i bought a pair of crank brother mallet 1s from theclymb .com and went at it.

    i was practicing on the street - clipping in and out - and felt pretty good.

    i hit a trail behind the house and it got scary real quick! lol.

    i went down two times and was laughing both times.

    i had a nice fall at a local lake and was not laughing

    my last fall was at a stop light after a fairly long ride. i came to a complete stop and went down... i had forgotten i was clipped in!!!

    overal, i am happy as it places my feet in the same position every time.

    and because the mallets, i have mallet 3s now, have a platform... i unclip out before if i get nervous

    joel

  11. #11
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by JAvendan View Post
    my last fall was at a stop light after a fairly long ride. i came to a complete stop and went down... i had forgotten i was clipped in!!!
    Lol. This is so easy to do.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  12. #12
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    I started out with Time clipless and getting out of the pedal took a very deliberate motion. I fell several times but after a few months I had enough. I switched to shimano with the multi-cleat and it holds just enough but releases when I need it. You can also adjust the tension on the pedal to release the cleat easier.

  13. #13
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by shellshocked View Post
    I started out with Time clipless and getting out of the pedal took a very deliberate motion. I fell several times but after a few months I had enough. I switched to shimano with the multi-cleat and it holds just enough but releases when I need it. You can also adjust the tension on the pedal to release the cleat easier.
    This is my setup.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

    -Chris Kyle

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr5150 View Post
    You may want to consider the SM 56 (I think that's the part number) multi release cleats. I use them. They release in five different directions. Great for panic situations. Release when you need it, stay on when don't.
    I just put these on my shoes but haven't been on the trail with them. I have ridden 5 times with the 51's (single release) with no issues but I also haven't been on anything too technical. I put the multi direction release cleats on to see how they work because I have a feeling I will benefit from them when I get back on more technical stuff. Still unsure though, even on the tightest setting on my pedals the 56's seemed too easy to get out of (just riding around the street). Anyone else have experience with both? If I have been fine with the single release cleats should I just keep running with those?

    (sorry to hijack)

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAvendan View Post
    my last fall was at a stop light after a fairly long ride. i came to a complete stop and went down... i had forgotten i was clipped in!!!
    I've done this too! The guy I was riding with got a real good laugh out of it.

    All in all I love my SPD's though. I can't imagine riding flats. I tried it once and it just feel strange. My feet were all over the place.

    And I won't ever ride on the road w/out them! I run the same pedals on my MTB as I do my road bike....Shimano M520's... Work great and were like 25 bucks on sale.
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  16. #16
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I've done this too! The guy I was riding with got a real good laugh out of it.

    All in all I love my SPD's though. I can't imagine riding flats. I tried it once and it just feel strange. My feet were all over the place.

    And I won't ever ride on the road w/out them! I run the same pedals on my MTB as I do my road bike....Shimano M520's... Work great and were like 25 bucks on sale.
    Same here, my feet were all over the place with flats. It was a problem, especially on steeper climbs.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    I've done this too! The guy I was riding with got a real good laugh out of it.

    All in all I love my SPD's though. I can't imagine riding flats. I tried it once and it just feel strange. My feet were all over the place.

    And I won't ever ride on the road w/out them! I run the same pedals on my MTB as I do my road bike....Shimano M520's... Work great and were like 25 bucks on sale.
    yeah... that fall hurt the most because i was at an intersection and i am sure the guy in the car had a great laugh - lol.

    i like how the clips keep me in the same position every time. i do not have to think about foot placement.

    joel

  18. #18
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    First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Maybe this is helpful:

    If you are starting out on clipless, loosen the clip tension. On Shimano pedals, use a 2.5mm Allen wrench to loosen the clip tension as loose as it will go (counterclockwise to the stop), then tighten maybe three clicks tighter (clockwise). There are two adjustment points per pedal, on each flat (four total per bike). It is important to set all four equally. Loosening the tension should make for a fairly easy release. Like ski bindings, more proficient riders will use correspondingly higher clip tension.

    Another newb tip is to start with only one clipless pedal and one cage pedal ... Sort of like a training wheel.

    You should soon be able to clip out effortlessly. The benefit of clipless in efficiency and comfort is huge. I'd give up full suspension and maybe disc brakes ... Maybe... Before I gave up clipless pedals.
    First Time Out Riding Clipless-imageuploadedbytapatalk1372128761.530817.jpg

    Cleat location is personal, but for me a reasonable point to start on cleat location is all the way back, then forward just barely off the stop, and then rotated >> toes out a little (ie cleat pointed in a little). A pro tip is to set your bike up on a trainer (or use a spin bike), then loosen the cleats so that they will move with some friction, then spin with slightly loose cleats until they find a "home" position. A good bike fitter will set up your cleats as well, and you can mark the location by outlining with a sharpie pen.

    Pedals and cleats are individual preference, so YMMV.

  19. #19
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    When I was learning clipless pedals, I went into my grass and practiced track stands. Since I was not very good at them, I would have to put my foot down often.

    Practicing in a situation where have to take your foot off in "panic" will help you get over the low speed falls more quickly. And since you're working on track stands in the yard, tumbling over shouldn't hurt.

    Best case scenario, you learn to track stand and to take your foot off quickly. Worst case scenario, you are really good at track standing and hang out in the yard in one position for hours. Other worst case scenario, you get really good at taking your foot out quickly.

    Either way, worked for me. I fell maybe twice on the trail while first starting clipless, and I've become a good track stander. But now I ride flats again.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I747 using Tapatalk 2

  20. #20
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by thegweed View Post
    How did you decide where to put the cleats on your shoes? You may not have them in the right spot.
    This could be a reason. I put the cleats where I thought I wanted the pedal. They feel fine when I'm riding.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  21. #21
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    I love my HT flats. With good shoes I have 3/4 motion and complete freedom of feet. I use these on an AM bike. I am about to purchase/build an XC and will use clipless.

    I dropped the clipless on my AM after wiping at speed and stripping one of the screws on the cleat. The cleat spun as a result and I was stuck to my rig. I tumbled down hill at speed attached... Lucky I wasn't hurt worse... three weeks.

  22. #22
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott In MD View Post
    Maybe this is helpful:

    If you are starting out on clipless, loosen the clip tension. On Shimano pedals, use a 2.5mm Allen wrench to loosen the clip tension as loose as it will go (counterclockwise to the stop), then tighten maybe three clicks tighter (clockwise). There are two adjustment points per pedal, on each flat (four total per bike). It is important to set all four equally. Loosening the tension should make for a fairly easy release. Like ski bindings, more proficient riders will use correspondingly higher clip tension.

    Another newb tip is to start with only one clipless pedal and one cage pedal ... Sort of like a training wheel.

    You should soon be able to clip out effortlessly. The benefit of clipless in efficiency and comfort is huge. I'd give up full suspension and maybe disc brakes ... Maybe... Before I gave up clipless pedals.
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	ImageUploadedByTapatalk1372128761.530817.jpg 
Views:	154 
Size:	112.8 KB 
ID:	810788

    Cleat location is personal, but for me a reasonable point to start on cleat location is all the way back, then forward just barely off the stop, and then rotated >> toes out a little (ie cleat pointed in a little). A pro tip is to set your bike up on a trainer (or use a spin bike), then loosen the cleats so that they will move with some friction, then spin with slightly loose cleats until they find a "home" position. A good bike fitter will set up your cleats as well, and you can mark the location by outlining with a sharpie pen.

    Pedals and cleats are individual preference, so YMMV.
    Good info. I'm going to try that method to try to get my cleats right. Thanks.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

    -Chris Kyle

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scott In MD View Post
    A pro tip is to set your bike up on a trainer (or use a spin bike), then loosen the cleats so that they will move with some friction, then spin with slightly loose cleats until they find a "home" position.

    The problem with this is that if you leave the cleats loose enough to float around they will move when you unclip.

    I agree that for most shoes cleat position is best all the way back, sometimes more (I've used a file). The angle you position the cleat somewhat depends on how you walk, if you walk pigeon toed for example then you should position your cleats that way.

  24. #24
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    Re: First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The problem with this is that if you leave the cleats loose enough to float around they will move when you unclip.

    I agree that for most shoes cleat position is best all the way back, sometimes more (I've used a file). The angle you position the cleat somewhat depends on how you walk, if you walk pigeon toed for example then you should position your cleats that way.
    Mine are almost all the way back.
    “You see us? We’re the people kicking your a*s. Fear us, because we will kill you, motherfu*ker,”*

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  25. #25
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    First Time Out Riding Clipless

    Quote Originally Posted by J.B. Weld View Post
    The problem with this is that if you leave the cleats loose enough to float around they will move when you unclip.
    That's what the sharpie is for. Loosen cleats to friction-tight, clip in, spin; find home position on your cleat, remove feet from shoes while clipped in, trace (or locate visually) the outline of the cleat on the bottom of shoe as best you can while shoe is clipped to pedal, unclip; adjust, tighten cleat screws.

    But I agree; this could be a helpful trick to set up your cleats, but might not work for everyone. Cleat will likely move when you unclip. And tracing is probably the wrong word. "Locating" maybe a better word. Works for me. YMMV.

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